Section 3A: Approach to the dwelling
3.1 The provisions of Section 3A apply only where a planning condition requires compliance with optional requirement M4(3) for a wheelchair user dwelling (see paragraphs 0.3 to 0.6).
3.2 The provisions of Section 3A apply to specific external and internal areas and elements that form part of the approach route to the dwelling and fall within the plot (or curtilage) of the individual dwelling, or the building containing the dwelling.
3.3 The provisions of Section 3A also apply to the approach route between the dwelling and the point, or points, at which a wheelchair user, or other disabled occupant or visitor, would expect to get in and out of a This point, or points, of access may be within or outside the plot of the dwelling, or the building containing the dwelling. These provisions do not apply beyond the curtilage of the development.
3.4 Reasonable provision should also be made to ensure that the approach route to any communal facilities intended to serve the dwelling meets these Communal facilities include storage areas, such as those used for depositing refuse and recycling, but not plant rooms or other service areas unless occupants need regular access to equipment within these spaces, for example for meter reading.
3.5 For a house (or other dwelling that sits within its own plot) the approach route will often only involve a driveway, or a gate and a For a dwelling within a larger building (typically a block of flats) the approach route usually involves one, or more, communal gates, paths, entrances, doors, lobbies, corridors and access decks, as well as communal lifts and stairs.
3.6 All the provisions of Section 3A apply to wheelchair adaptable and wheelchair accessible dwellings.
3.7 The approach route should be safe and convenient for everyone, be at the shallowest gradient that can reasonably be achieved, and be step-free, irrespective of the storey on which the dwelling is Approach routes to dedicated storage for mobility scooters (where provided) should also be step-free.
3.8 A step-free approach route should be provided to all private Where a communal ramped approach route is provided and has an overall rise of 300mm or more, an additional stepped route meeting the requirements of paragraph 3.11 should also be provided.
3.9 An accessible step-free approach route that is specifically suitable for a wheelchair user should comply with all of the following.
a. The approach route is level, gently sloping or ramped.
b. The approach route (whether private or communal) has a minimum clear width of 1200mm.
c. Any localised obstruction does not occur opposite or close to a doorway or at a change of direction and is no longer than 2m in length.
d. A level space with a minimum width and depth of 1500mm for passing or turning is provided at each end of the approach route and at maximum intervals of 10m.
e. External parts of the approach route have a suitable ground surface.
f. External parts of the approach route are illuminated by fully diffused lighting activated automatically by a dusk to dawn timer or by detecting motion.
g. Every gate (or gateway) between the footway and the main communal or private entrance has all of the following:
a minimum clear opening width of 850mm
a minimum 300mm nib to the leading edge
a minimum 200mm nib to the following edge.
External and internal ramps forming part of an approach route
3.10 External and internal ramps should comply with all of the following.
a. The gradient is between 1:20 and 1:15.
b. The length of each flight at a given gradient meets the provisions of Diagram 3.1.
c. Flights (whether within a private or communal approach route) have a minimum clear width of 1200mm.
d. Top and bottom landings are provided to every flight.
e. An intermediate landing is provided between individual flights and at any change of direction.
f. Every landing is level and a minimum of 1200mm clear of any door (or gate) swing.
External steps forming part of an additional route
3.11 To enable a wide range of people to use them safely, external steps should comply with all of the following.
a. Steps are uniform with a rise of between 150mm and 170mm and a going of between 280mm and 425mm (for tapered steps measured at a point 270mm from the ‘inside’ (narrow end) of the step).
b. Steps have suitable tread nosings.
c. No individual flight has a rise of more than 1800mm between landings.
d. Every flight has a minimum clear width of 900mm.
e. Top, bottom and, where necessary, intermediate landings are provided and every landing is a minimum 900mm long.
f. Every flight with three or more risers has a suitable grippable handrail on one side of the flight (or to both sides where the flight is wider than 1000mm). This grippable handrail is 850-1000mm above the pitch line of the flight and extends at least 300mm beyond the top and bottom nosings.
g. Single steps are avoided.
Car parking and drop-off
3.12 Where a dwelling has a parking space, to enable a wheelchair user to get into and out of a car from both sides and access the boot space, the parking space should comply with all of the following.
a. Where the parking space is within the private curtilage of a dwelling (including a carport or garage) it is a standard parking bay with an additional minimum clear access zone of 1200mm to one side and to the rear.
b. Where it is within a communal parking area, it is a standard parking bay with an additional minimum clear access zone of 1200mm to both sides.
c. The parking space is level.
d. The parking space has a minimum clear headroom of 2200mm.
e. The parking space has a suitable ground surface.
NOTE: The side access zones in communal parking areas may be shared by two bays.
3.13 Where a drop-off point (or setting down point) is provided for the dwelling, it should comply with all of the following.
a. The drop-off point is located close to the principal communal entrance of the core of the building that contains the dwelling.
b. The drop-off point is level.
c. The drop-off point has a suitable ground surface.
d. Where a dropped kerb is provided, it is a minimum of 1000mm wide, is reasonably flush with the adjoining ground and has a maximum gradient of 1:15.
Principal communal entrance
3.14 To enable a wheelchair user to enter the principal communal entrance, it should comply with all of the following.
a. There is a level landing with a minimum width and depth of 1500mm outside the entrance.
b. The landing is covered to a minimum width and depth of 1200mm.
c. Lighting is provided which uses fully diffused luminaires activated automatically by a dusk to dawn timer or by detecting motion.
d. A clear turning circle 1500mm in diameter is provided inside the entrance area, behind the entrance door when closed.
e. The entrance door (or gate) has a minimum clear opening width of 850mm when measured in accordance with Diagram 3.2.
f. Where double doors (or gates) are provided, the main leaf provides the required minimum clear opening width.
g. A minimum 300mm nib is provided to the leading edge of the door (or gate) and the extra width created by this nib is maintained for a minimum of 1800mm beyond it.
h. A minimum 200mm nib is provided to the following edge of the door (or gate) and the extra width created by this nib is maintained for a distance of a minimum 1800mm beyond it.
i. The door is located reasonably centrally within the thickness of the wall while ensuring that the depth of the reveal on the leading face of the door (usually the inside) is a maximum of 200mm.
j. The threshold is an accessible threshold.
k. Where there is a lobby or porch, the doors are a minimum of 1500mm apart and there is a minimum of 1500mm clear space between door swings.
l. Power assisted opening is provided where the opening force of the door is more than 30N from 0° to 30° or more than 22.5N from 30° to 60° of the opening cycle.
m. The ground surface (or entrance flooring) does not impede movement by wheelchair users.
n. Door entry controls, where provided, are mounted 900-1000mm above finished ground level a minimum of 300mm away from any projecting corner.
Diagram 3.2 Measurement of clear opening width and other features of external and internal doors
Other communal doors
3.15 Every communal door, or gate, along the approach route should comply with provisions to n. of paragraph 3.14.
Communal lifts and stairs
3.16 To enable a wide range of people, including accompanied wheelchair users, to access and use the lift, every communal passenger lift that gives access to the dwelling should comply with all of the following.
a. A clear landing, a minimum of 1500mm long and 1500mm wide, is directly in front of the lift door at every floor level.
b. The lift is equivalent to or complies with requirements of BS EN 81-70:2003 for a type 2 lift.
c. The lift car is a minimum of 1100mm wide and 1400mm deep.
d. Doors have a minimum clear opening width of 800mm.
e. Landing and car controls are located 900-1200mm above the car floor and a minimum of 400mm (measured horizontally) from the inside of the front wall.
f. The lift has an initial dwell time of five seconds before its doors begin to close after they are fully open.
3.17 The principal communal stair that gives access to the dwelling should meet the provisions of Part K for a general access stair.